November 20, 2023

Kyrie Eleison by Alan Anderson

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.-- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)


The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.



Pray without ceasing.


Occasionally I have known Christian writers say things like, "to write is to breathe," or "I live to write." Whether we echo these attitudes is up to each of us. I am using these terms to invite you to consider the following point. Kyrie eleison applies as an encouragement to pray without ceasing in our lives as writers.


Kyrie Eleison—Lord have mercy.


I found an explanation of "Lord have mercy," as I prepared this post.


"The word mercy in English is the translation of the Greek word eleos.

This word has the same ultimate root as the old Greek word for oil, or more precisely, olive oil; a substance that, was used extensively as a soothing agent for bruises and minor wounds.

The oil was poured into the wound and gently massaged in, thus soothing, comforting, and making whole the injured part.”

The Hebrew word which is also translated as eleos and mercy is hesed, and means steadfast love.


The Greek words for "Lord, have mercy," are "Kyrie, eleison" that is to say, 'Lord, soothe me, comfort me, take away my pain, show me your steadfast love.”


Thus mercy does not refer so much to justice or acquittal a very Western interpretation but to the infinite loving-kindness of God, and his compassion for his suffering children! It is in the sense that we pray "Lord, have mercy," with great frequency during the Divine Liturgy.”


In our prayer, Kyrie eleison, we offer our suffering, our fear, our pain, and even our anger to God of all compassion. This includes prayer for whomever caused our pain or despair. "Lord have mercy", is not a religious mantra, neither is it vain repetition. Kyrie eleison is a heartfelt prayer to the God who hears our cries and does not turn His face from us.


A Humble prayer for writers.


Whatever genre we write in we can pray with assurance, Kyrie eleison, as we write and send our words into the world of readers. We never know what someone's life situation is before they read our words. Our humble call as writers may be a healing balm to the soul of a reader or other writers.


A few times after reading my poetry or my writing as healing content, readers stated. "You saved my life." Oh my, how do we as writers respond to such intimate appreciation? We can fall to our knees with "Kyrie eleison," springing from thankful hearts for God's mercy on us.


We might also take a quiet, intimate pause in our call to write and ask God for His continued mercy. In prayer, we may say these humble words: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."


Perhaps, through our words, we can wipe away the tears from a reader's eyes. Friends, our words have the power to bring healing to people. With all humbleness, I encourage our writer family to send words into the world as peacemakers to express God's mercy. Every letter, word, and paragraph will be more effective when sent out with this humble prayer by a humble writer, Lord have mercy.


Kyrie eleison

We hope and pray

Lord, pour out compassion this troubled day.



Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018; Easter Stories & More by InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship, 2021. Alan's current writing project is, "Hidden Poetic Voices: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry. This project expresses the grief of grandparents. He periodically writes articles for FellowScript Magazine and the online magazine for Compassionate Friends. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015. Blog:


  1. Thank you, dear Alan, for this beautiful reminder to consider the powerful potential words have to bless others when they're written prayerfully.
    What a privilege we're wise not to neglect.
    Amen to this: "Every letter, word, and paragraph will be more effective when sent out with this humble prayer by a humble writer, Lord have mercy."

    1. Dear Wendy, we are all prayer writers and writers of prayer. Our words can be blessings to the world. We are in this call together my friend.

  2. Wow. This was totally new to me. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Dear Tracy, thank you for your teachable spirit.

  3. Michelle Strutzenberger5:27 pm GMT-7

    This really spoke to me, especially the Greek meaning of the phrase, and the encouragement to pray this over whatever we send out. I have just researched how to pronounce it, so I can be sure I am saying it somewhat correctly:) Thank you so much, Alan. Blessings.

    1. Dear Michelle, I appreciate you taking time to comment. Thank you for being part of our InScribe family of writers. Blessings to you as well!

  4. Thank you, Alan, for reminding us of the importance of each word and the turn of each phrase. May we be ever mindful that words can hurt and words can heal. We stand with all humanity and pray, ‘Lord have mercy.’

    1. Dear Sharon, indeed, God loves the world as we should. Our words represent us and the message God gave His children.

  5. Oh thank you, Alan. You brought a whole new meaning of that prayer to me. No wonder it's so meaningful in your Orthodox traditions. I've copied it out on a card and will put it in my journal. (Oh how the Greek is so much richer than English, even though English has the most words of any language in the world!)

    1. Dear Sharon! Yes, "Lord have mercy," is a constant in our liturgies. I tremendous comfort we can pray in faith. Thank you for taking the time to comment.


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